A new customer called, wanting a price for Service Pack 2 for windows XP.
It seemed a bit odd, but since I didn’t take the call, and the customer was on my way home, I told Mandy to relay a price of $10, and that I’ll be there in about 30 minutes.
Turns out he had just reinstalled XP, but needed SP2 before he could connect to the internet via a USB 3G connection. So I copy it onto the laptop, and also write down the names of programs he should download and install (once SP2 is complete).
I know there is a bit more to reinstalling XP than just running the installation / recovery CD (install drivers, security, defrag, setup MS office (or openoffice), do all the MS updates, etc). But I don’t mention any of that… I don’t know the customers technical expertise, so I just leave it at that.
Well, a few days later, the customer calls back, saying he still cannot connect to the internet, and would I be able to fix his non-working USB ports.
Seems like I need to complete the XP reinstallation… so I fix most of the drivers (he doesn’t have a driver CD, and there is no recovery partition on the HDD.
After that, I notice a few strange things: the XP firewall is off (and is greyed-out… so it cannot be enabled). There are some strange programs that startup, and usb drives work correctly, but not his USB 3G modem.
I remove the HDD, and scan it from the office PC… and it detects about 30 infected files… I remove the infected files, and put the HDD back in the laptop.
I ring the customer, but he doesn’t know how he reinstalled windows… OK, he probably did a repair install, and so the prior infection lingered on.
But even after I removed all the nasties from the laptop, it still behaved strangely: firewall still wouldn’t switch on; some important services were off (and wouldn’t switch on); once on the internet, I could ping, but not get any web pages (neither ie7, nor firefox!).
So I go through the laborious task of enabling the appropriate services.
And when they wouldn’t start, find a fix on the net (usually a registry setting).
Same with the firewall: when trying to start the firewall service, it would fail with: some settings are controlled by group policy.
A long search of the net finds about 3 different ways to fix this… I find I need to try all 3 before the firewall finally switches on.
Once the firewall is on, everything else starts to fall into place: I can perform windows updates, I can view websites, the 3G modem starts working correctly, etc.
Funny how customers can make a simple request (fix my usb ports), but its actually the tip of an iceberg (of work!)